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Browse our veterinary-reviewed Dog and Cat Illness Guide to learn more about pet health. Always talk to your veterinarian if you have a concern about your pet's symptoms or health.
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Canine Osteochondritis Dissecans

OCD

Two bones meet at a joint, where there is a cover of cartilage for smooth movement.

With OCD, this cartilage cracks and can either:

CAUSES:

OCD is caused by rapid bone growth. Therefore, it primarily affects growing puppies of large breeds.

SYMPTOMS:

OCD most commonly affects the shoulder, but you may notice symptoms in the elbows, knees, or hips.

DIAGNOSIS:

Your dog will show pain and resistance when someone touches the affected joint. Your veterinarian can make a diagnosis based on:

TREATMENT:

There are two options for treatment, depending on the severity of your dog's OCD:

1. Conservative treatment: includes weeks of strict rest for mild cases of a small crack in the cartilage or a small flap. Walking is only for bathroom trips.

In more than half of mild cases, the OCD heals on its own if you strictly enforce rest.

Other conservative treatments include:

2. Surgery: for more severe cases of a big flap, or "joint mice", or if conservative treatment was not effective. Your veterinarian will open the joint and remove the joint mice and defective cartilage. For a few weeks after surgery, you must minimize activity to allow for recovery.

PREVENTION:

PROGNOSIS:

There is a good prognosis with OCD in the shoulder. With other joints, OCD may lead to further issues.

With an early diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis will improve.

Medically Reviewed by Sara Ochoa, DVM

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